The Fifth Quarter: Warriors need OT against Jazz but inch ever closer toward wins record

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NBA null null Basketball A year ago, the Warriors’ dominance was shocking. Six months ago, some thought it might have been a fluke.Today, as they inch closer to rewriting the league’s history books, it is expected. MORE: Classic photos of Stephen Curry | Spurs set record for best home startThe Warriors weren’t dominant against the Jazz on Wednesday, when they needed overtime to come away with a 103-96 win, but that’s OK. They are right where they want to be: The win was their 68th this season, meaning the Warriors have already won more games than all of last season when they first took the NBA by storm. Stephen Curry did what Stephen Curry does, scoring 31 points, six of them in overtime, to keep his team on pace to break the wins record of 72 set by Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls.The Warriors are now one win away from tying the 1996-97 Bulls and the 1971-72 Lakers for the second-best regular season win total of all time. Wednesday wasn’t pretty, but it doesn’t have to be all the time.Stud of the nightChris Paul came up big for the Clippers. The point guard had 20 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds as the LA beat the Timberwolves 99-79. Dud[……]

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The Fifth Quarter: Heat Raptors Joe Johnson DeMarre Carroll

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NBA null null null null null null Basketball The Raptors were in trouble Thursday night, until a late run led by Jonas Valanciunas saved them.Toronto rallied for a 96-92 overtime victory over the Heat at Air Canada Centre. The win evened the second-round Eastern Conference semifinal series at a game apiece.  MORE: Potential replacements for Frank Vogel | Lowry too focused to fist bump security guardThe Raptors, down 80-74 with 4:15 remaining, went on a 10-0 run, with Valanciunas scoring six of his 15 points in the final minutes.  A Dwyane Wade 3-pointer with 38 seconds to go in regulation brought the Heat within one, but Kyle Lowry answered with a long jumper to give the Raptors an 86-83 advantage with 14.9 seconds remaining. Goran Dragic sent the game to overtime with another Heat trey[……]

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Blazers owner Paul Allen became a meme thanks to Stephen Curry

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NBA null null Basketball Steph Curry returned to the Warriors lineup Monday night and did Steph Curry things, as a Steph Curry does.Initially the injured MVP came off the bench, but after Shaun Livingston was ejected in the second quarter, Golden State needed Curry more than ever. It took him a while to get going, but then Curry went off in the fourth quarter and overtime as he scored 27 points. MORE: Why Steph is unguardable | Two-time NBA MVP listIn fact, Curry set the NBA playoff record for points by a single player in overtime and outscored the entire Trail Blazers team 17-14. The dagger 3-pointer came with just over 夜网论坛a minute left to put the Warriors up 128-120, and that’s when we saw Paul Allen’s reaction. Statement from Paul Allen: WAT https://t.co/Z1ym4UYZLA pic.twitter.com/SaMTFugmlY— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) May 10, 2016Allen is the Trail Blazers owner and the co-founder of Microsoft. He’s seen some things in his days, but nothing quite like Curry’s performance Monday night. We were all amazed, but not all of us became memes.r.i.p. paul allen pic.twitter.com/Ig1itSYDz0— Erik Malinowski (@erikmal) May 10, 2016[……]

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Kevin Love injury scare a reminder of how much Cavaliers need him

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NBA CLEVELAND — Kevin Love sat to the right of the LeBron James at the podium and exchanged a few whispers while waiting for the question to come.Seven questions into the postgame press conference, a reporter finally asked Love about the left shoulder. Love took a hit late in the third quarter of Cleveland’s 108-89 win against the Toro夜网论坛nto Raptors in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. Love said he was good and that James and Kyrie Irving were giving him a hard time. MORE: Five crazy numbers from Cleveland’s postseason dominance“Elaborate,” James said while holding back a laugh. Love then detailed the pick-and-roll with Iman Shumpert one more time. “Shump passed me the ball, I went out, got fouled, got a little stinger, knocked down my free throws,” Love said. “I feel fine. I’m good. Thanks.”So there you have it. Love said he’s fine, and Cleveland fans can relax. Love suffered a dislocated shoulder that required surgery in the first round against Boston in 2015. That’s well-documented. Love left for the locker room briefly in the second quarter before the second ding in the third quarter.The Cavaliers also are 14-0 in the playoffs with Love, James and Kyrie Irving in the lineup at the same time. Love said that’s well-documented, too.Yet that’s where the two well-documented narratives converge. As long as Love stays healthy and this Big Three stays intact, then Cleveland’s NBA Finals chances are looking bette[……]

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Randy Wittman out as Wizards coach after disappointing regression

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NBA null 夜网论坛 Basketball Randy Wittman often seemed to be on unsteady ground in Washington even when the Wizards were going well the last few years.Missing out on the playoffs this season after making it to the second round each of the last two years removed all ambiguity, though, and the team announced Thursday that Wittman will not return for 2016-17.  MORE: Ranking all 16 coaches in the playoffs | Our NBA Awards ballot“There were high internal and external expectations for this team coming into this season based on the momentum we had generated over the previous two years,” Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a release. “Unfortunately, the inconsistency of the team’s performance and effort, particularly on our home court, did not allow us to meet those expectations and we decided a coaching change was needed.” The Wizards finished 41-41, putting them 10th in the Eastern Conference, and went 22-19 at Verizon Center. Overall, Wittman was 178-199 (.472) in the regular season and 12-9 in the playoffs after taking over for Flip Saunders in January 2012.Speculation on potential replacements has centered on former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks. Reeling in Brooks could have the added benefit of making the Wizards more attractiv[……]

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2016 NBA Draft Combine notebook: 7-2 Zhou says, 'I'm ready'

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NBA CHICAGO — Zhou Qi doesn’t speak English, so when he was asked, through a translator, how he has grown into his body over the years, he frowned as though he had just bitten into an especially sour lemon. “Eh?” he said as the translator repeated the question.Zhou shrugged. “I’ve been growing all these years,” he said. “Consistently growing.” O’CONNOR: Who each lottery team should take No. 1If there are some aspects of Zhou, who is 20 and hails from China, that are lost in translation, the consistent growing is not one. Zhou measured in at 7-1.25 here at the predraft combine, with a wingspan of 7-7.75, biggest among draft prospects. The downside, though, is that Zhou weighed in at only 218 pounds, which is incredibly thin for a player his height. It should be noted, he has added almost 10 pounds in the last five months. Zhou has some obvious strengths. He is a good shooter for his size, consistently able to knock down midrange jumpers with the potential for stretching to the 3-point line. He has good footwork, but at his weight, he is a long way from ever being an impact player in the post. He could, however, become a game-changing defensive player, because of his length and agility.He’s been impressed with the draft process thus far.“This is a very precious opportunity for me, an experience for me,” he said. “I learned a lot about the draft process with the agility testing, and also the shooting testing and tr[……]

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Warriors’ Steve Ker admits to using marijuana

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NBA null Basketball The use of medicinal marijuana has been a hot topic among NFL players who deal with constant pain. Now the discussion is shifting to the NBA thanks to one of the league’s best coaches.Warriors coach Steve Kerr, speaking on The Warriors Insider Podcast, admitted to using marijuana while dealing with chronic back pain. “I guess maybe I can even get in some trouble for this, but I’ve actually tried it twice during the last year and a half, when I’ve been going through this chronic pain that I’ve been dealing with,” Kerr said Friday.“(After) a lot of research, a lot of advice from people and I have no idea if maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don’t even夜网论坛 know if I’m subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA.” MORE: NFLPA to study marijuana use as possible pain treatmentKerr underwent two surgeries on his back in 2015 and missed the first four months of the 2015-16 season. After finding no answer through traditional pain management methods, Kerr turned to marijuana. He said it “didn’t agree with” him.“I know enough, especially over the last couple years, having gone through my own bout with chronic pain, I know enough about this stuff — Vicodin is not good for you,” he said. “It’s way worse for you than pot[……]

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Gregg Popovich shows how utterly insignificant Spurs' loss to Thunder is

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NBA Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is really keeping his team’s Game 6 loss to the Thunder in perspective.The San Antonio coach demonstrated Friday how insignificant the loss was … at least, on the cosmic scale. MORE: Gregg Popovich is too smug to answer a basketball questionOne of the best moments from Popovich today… planets over basketball…”get over yourself” #Spurs pic.twitter.com/I夜网论坛JMYGQ9AHb— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) May 13, 2016And of course, it wouldn’t be a Popovich interview unless he flat-out refused to answer someone’s question. Classic. Glad to see Popovich is taking the loss in stride.[……]

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Draymond Green clears the air on criticism of 1995-96 Bulls

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NBA Draymond Green will talk trash to just about anyone, but he has nothing negative to say about the 1995-96 Bulls.After the Warriors’ record-breaking 73rd win Wednesday night, Green sent a strong message to critics who argue Golden State wouldn’t have been able to achieve this level of greatness in a different era. MORE: Full NBA awards ballot | First-round predictions  .@Money23Green has some strong words for the people comparing the Warriors to the 95-96 Bulls. https://t.co/Bbnbhtg9KT— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 14, 2016 Some perceived Green’s words as a shot directed at members of the legendary 72-10 Bulls team. The Warriors do-it-all forward made it clear nothing could be further from the truth.”I have the ut夜网论坛most respect for the Bulls,” Green said in a video for Bleacher Report’s Uninterrupted. “You could never get me to say anything negative about a former champion, that they couldn’t do what we did in what era. I wasn’t talking about them. Never will.”So, good try, but that wasn’t what it was. Major respect for, of course, Mike (Michael Jordan) and Pip (Scottie Pippen) and all those guys that played on those teams. They started dominance, and they dominated for a long time.” .@Money23Green celebrates @Warriors’ 73rd win, clears air that he’d never say anything negative about the ’96 Bulls.https://t.co/zUj1uktsx0— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) April 14, 2016 Perhaps Green was aiming at someone else? Remember[……]

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Weekend ratings predictions: NBA Playoffs, Preakness and more

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NBA First, the results of last week’s predictions:— NBA playoffs, Heat-Raptors Game 7. Prediction: 3.6; final rating: 3.6. — PGA Tour Players Championship, third and final rounds. Predictions: 1.7 and 2.8; final ratings: 2.2 and 2.8.— NASCAR Sprint Cup from Dover. Prediction: 2.4; final rating: 2.5. — WNBA regular season, Mercury-Lynx. Prediction: 0.3; final rating: 0.3.— IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Prediction: 0.8; final rating: 0.7.— NHL playoffs, Sharks-Blues Game 1. Prediction: 0.8; final rating: N/A.— NBA Playoffs, Cavaliers-Hawks Game 4 (5/15). Prediction: 3.7; final rating: 3.1.This week’s predictions (all times Eastern):NBA playoffs, Warriors-Thunder Game 3 (8 p.m. Sunday, TNT). The Warriors’ Game 1 loss to the Thunder was the highest rated Western Conference final opener since 2002 and their bounce-back rout was the top rated Game 2 since 2009. Another multi-year high seems likely for Sunday’s Game 3. In the past 14 years, Game 3 of the West final has topped out at a 5.5 for Lakers-Timberwolves in 2004. Prediction: 5.6.NBA playoffs, Cavaliers-Raptors Game 3 (8:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN). The Raptors are outmatched according to the pundits, unknown by most of the public, and hail from a market that does not count toward U.S. television ratings. With LeBron James no longer the draw he used to be, little can save ESPN’s ratings for the Eastern Conference Finals. In last year’s comparable window[……]

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Mark Cuban wants to be Hillary Clinton's vice president

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NBA Mark Cuban seems likely to run for president at some point; that could be in 2020, or it could be in 2024, according to The Washington Post.The past week has seen the floatation of a Donald Trump-alternative candidacy for the Mavs owner, which he shot down. That doesn’t mean he’s out for this election c夜网论坛ycle, though. MORE: Sports figures who support Donald TrumpCuban, in an interview set to run Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” said he’d “absolutely” accept an appointment as — you guessed it — Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the fall. He’s a Republican, but whatever. The full context, courtesy of NBC (and no, they haven’t released anything else from the interview):Chuck Todd: You joke that you would love to be Clinton’s running mate, as long as you were allowed to throw bombs at Trump. If she really did come to you, would you listen?Cuban: Absolutely. But the key would be that she’d have to go more to center. I like the fact that Senator Clinton has thought-out proposals. That’s a good thing because at least we get to see exactly where she stands. But I think Senator Sanders has dragged her a little bit too far to the left. Things like college tuition and, you know, other business elements that really, I think, could hurt the economy. If she’s willing to listen, if she’s willing to, you know, hear other sides of things, then I’m wide open to discussing it.People who aren’t interested in running for office d[……]

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A welcome change to the NBA's 'Hack-A-Shaq' rule seems likely

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NBA NEW YORK — Like any business, the NBA is constantly trying to stay abreast of the issues its customers — or in this case, its fans and broadcast partners  — find unsavory.In the world of professional basketball, the preponderance of off-ball deliberate fouls, better known as the “Hack-A-Shaq” strategy, is something that commissioner Adam Silver and his counterparts troublesome. MORE: Shaq’s SN covers | Silver says this is not the end of Kobe in NBA”Very few people like the idea of (off-ball deliberate fouls). It’s a non-basketball play,” he said. “It sort of goes against the spirit of the rulebook. The free throws are to compensate and deter fouls, not to encourage them.” The stats the league presented on the issue Thursday in a meeting with sports editors at the NBA’s offices make it clear why. In short, the strategy is negatively affecting the product on the court.”One of my concerns from a business standpoint is that when ‘Hack-A-Shaq’ happens three or more times per game, it adds approximately 11 minutes to the game,” Silver said, adding that the 2 1/2-hour window assigned to NBA games probably is already longer than the average American’s attention span.Last year, Silver said at a meeting with sports editors that he was somewhat hesitant to address the off-ball deliberate fouls and wanted to wait to gather another season’s worth of statistics before evaluating whether a change was needed. After studying[……]

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Raptors' Kyle Lowry took himself out of Game 2 loss to 'decompress'

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NBA null null Basketball Whenever a player leaves the court to go to the locker room during a game, the normal assumption is that an injury has occurred.MORE: Must-see conference finals photos That wasn’t exactly the case when Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry left Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavaliers on Thursday. Lowry told reporters after the Raptors’ 108-89 loss that he wasn’t hurt when he was s夜网论坛hown leaving the court with four minutes remaining in the second quarter.”I needed to decompress, reconfigure myself,” Lowry said. “Get back to the grind.” BIRDSONG: Series’ shift to T.O. won’t help RaptorsLowry finished the game with just 10 points, shooting 4-for-14 from the field for the second time in as many games. Despite his shooting woes, Lowry says he remains confident.“I know I can be more effective on Saturday, and I will,” he said.He and the Raptors better hope so. Otherwise he’ll have a lot more time to decompress in the offseason.[……]

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Hawks' Thabo Sefolosha sues NYPD for false arrest, excessive force and more

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NBA Basketball Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha on Wednesday filed suit against five NYPD officers and the city of New York, stemming from an incident last spring in which he suffered a broken leg and ligament damage during an arrest.According to ESPN.com, Sefolosha’s civil suit — which based on a legal filing last year could reach up to $50 million for material and punitive damages — includes charges of false arrest, excessive force, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment. MORE: Every playoff team’s most feared Round 1 opponentSefolosha and teammate Pero Antic, who also has filed suit against three of the officers and the city, were arrested following an incident April 8, 2015, outside Manhattan nightclub 1 OAK. The suit claims that the incident was “a racial matter,” pointing out specifically that Sefolosha, who was born in Switzerland, is of African descent and was wearing a hoodie the night police accused him and Antic, who is from Macedonia, of interfering with the crime scene where Pacers forward Chris Copela夜网论坛nd was stabbed in a separate incident.While being arrested, Sefolosha suffered the injuries that prevented him from playing the rest of the season and the 2015 playoffs.MORE: The Hawks are in an awkward free agency spot — againA jury in October found him not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government adminis[……]

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Hornets, Trail Blazers get even with Game 4 wins

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NBA null Basketball null Two games into their playoff series, the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Hornets looked like sweep candidates. Two games later, both have new life after winning at home in Games 3 and 4.  MORE: 10 devastating playoff injuries | Paul breaks finger, could miss a monthThe Hornets beat the Miami Heat 89-85 in Charlotte and the Trail Blazers beat the Clippers 98-8夜网论坛4 in Portland on Monday night. Both series now are tied at two games apiece.Kemba Walker led the way for the Hornets with 34 points on 13-for-28 shooting and backup point guard Jeremy Lin added 21 points off the bench. Points came from a more unexpected source for Portland, as Al-Farouq Aminu scored a career-high 30 and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the way. They were able to pull away after Chris Paul left the game in the third quarter with a fractured third metacarpal bone in his shooting hand.  MORE: Durant, Westbrook torch Cuban, Villanueva after Game 5 The task for both teams going forward will be stealing a game on the road. “Guys are settled in and getting more comfortable,” Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum said on TNT after the game. It’s much easier to[……]

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The Raptors-Pacers game was THIS close to going into overtime

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NBA The Raptors downed the Pacers 102-99 in a Game 5 matchup on Tuesday night, but if Solomon Hill had gotten off a big s夜网论坛hot a split-second sooner, the outcome might have been a lot different.MORE: Best coaches in NBA playoffs | Raptors signs confiscated The Pacers were .1 second from forcing overtime against the Raptors. Wow.https://t.co/LdArk1VEw9https://t.co/udPPwV2lRE— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 27, 2016Hill’s shot was ruled no good upon video review.That bucket would have undone most of the hard work the Raptors did in the fourth quarter, which included outscoring the Pacers 25-9. Toronto now leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series three games to two. Game 6 will be played Friday in Indianapolis.[……]

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Stephen Curry resumes shooting drills, but return 'all speculation,' Steve Kerr says

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NBA null null Basketball The Warriors appear to have the basketball gods on their side as it relates to Stephen Curry’s injury. Curry returned to the court Saturday and began shooting drills — and there’s a slim chance he could play as early as Game 3 of the second-round series against Portland, coach Steve Kerr said. MORE: Worst playoff chokes of 夜网论坛all time | Kid rushes court to hug Justise Winslow“He’s progressing well. Obviously, he won’t play (in Game 1). We need to get him on the court,” Kerr said ahead of Game 1 on Sunday, via CSN Bay Area. “ Before he’s going to play in a game, he has to be on the floor in 5-on-5 situations, which means it’s pretty slim he’ll be out there for Game 2.”Curry sprained the MCL in his right knee April 24 against the Rockets. An MRI revealed surgery wasn’t necessary, and a two-week timeframe was set for his return.Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday in Portland.“Maybe Thursday or Friday there’s a chance we could get him on the floor in a scrimmage situation,” Kerr said. “But it’s all speculation.”[……]

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Greek team scores mind-boggling own-basket in playoffs

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NBA Basketball Plenty of athletes have made mistakes throughout the history of sports. There’s Chris Webber’s timeout, and Leon Lett’s almost-touchdown in the Super Bowl. Now, we can add Jermaine Marshall to the list.To set this up, Aris, a basketball team in the Greek League, faced impending defeat to Kifisia in the Greek League playoffs. All Kifisia had to do was run out the clock and end the game. But then Marshall, an Arizona State alum, was handed the ball. He knew it was his moment to completely ruin the happiness of his teammates. MORE: All-time dumbest sports injuries | Marcus Smart commits ridiculous flop The score at the bottom didn’t update in the video, perhaps because the operator was so shocked at what had just occurred. Not only was it an own goal, but the basket was a buzzer-beater that sent the playoff game into overtime.The entire arena was absolutely stunned. Even some of the Aris players were like, “Haha… wait, what?”Marshall’s mind seemed to implode, rendering him completely thoughtless afterwards. Just watch him as he waddles on the court, mouth agape after conducting one of the most idiotic plays in sports history.The amazement from the crowd and players continued for several minutes as everyone tried to figure out what to do. It’s almost as if they considered not letting the夜网论坛 basket count — becaus[……]

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Why are Justin Bieber fans suddenly jumping on the Cavaliers bandwagon?

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NBA Beliebers have been desperately hounding the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Twitter account since the NBA released the playoff schedule overnight.Wait. What does Justin Bieber have to do with the Cavs? Why are there suddenly scores of Bieber fans jumping on the Cavs’ bandwagon? MORE: SN’s NBA Playoff predictionsEasy answer. They’re scheduled to share an arena in a few weeks, and that’s the source of the problem. Quicken Loans Arena is set to play host to Bieber’s “Purpose” tour on April 26, which also happens to be the same night the Cavs’ could host the Pistons for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.If Cleveland does end up needing Game 5, Bieber’s tour would likely be pushed to a later date, according to Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers and Bieber’s tour managers are reportedly already in discussions about contingency plans. Of course, there’s always the option that Cleveland could sweep Detroit in the first four games of the series and avoid the scheduling snafu. Certainly that’s the fix that Cleveland-area Beliebers are hoping for.For what it’s worth, 夜网论坛Detroit claimed three of its four regular-season meetings against the Cavs this year.Is it too late now to say sorry? (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)[……]

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The Fifth Quarter: Cavaliers breeze past Raptors for 10th straight playoff win

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NBA null null Basketball It looked for a while like things may be different in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. That didn’t last long. MORE: Must-see conference finals photos The Cavaliers came up big in the second and third quarters and beat the Raptors 108-89 for their 10th consecutive win to open this year’s playoffs. The Cavs outscored the Raptors 56-41 in the middle two periods after leading just 32-30 following the first quarter. They 夜网论坛got another big lift from their Big Three; LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving combined for 65 points.MORE: Classic photos of LeBron James DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 22 points, but his backcourt mate Kyle Lowry continued to struggle. At one point in the second quarter, he had to leave the court to regroup. The Cavs continue to inch their way up the the record book. They became the fourth team in NBA history to win their first 10 playoff games. James’ triple-double (see below) was the 15th of his career in the postseason, second-most in NBA history behind Magic Johnson. He also passed Shaquille O’Neal for fourth overall in playoff scoring history. BENDER: Dellavedova remains Cleveland fo[……]

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